Extreme weather testing facility coming to RRC

MotiveLab press announcement, November 2016

Red River College has announced the next steps in the construction of MotiveLab, a highly specialized extreme weather testing facility that will be the first of its kind in Western Canada.

MotiveLab is a 3,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility – essentially a giant heater or freezer – that will provide opportunities for industry testing on heavy vehicles of all shapes and sizes, including transit and highway buses. Already, companies have identified more than 65 full days of demand for MotiveLab’s research and development services.

“Manitoba’s heavy vehicle manufacturing sector is a cornerstone of our economy, and this research and testing facility is a direct result of our close ties with manufacturers, as well as our efforts to meet current and future training and technology needs,” says RRC President Paul Vogt.

“It’s an approach we are taking across all sectors to help local industry innovate, create jobs of the future and be more competitive in the global marketplace.”

A funding announcement made today provides a total of $6 million for the construction of MotiveLab, a climatic chamber that allows for year-round testing to be conducted at extreme temperatures and under full loads using a 1,000 horsepower, three-axle dynamometer. The program will also train students in this highly specialized and emerging program area.

“The heavy vehicle sector is faced with increasingly stringent environmental demands, which has its players pushing the envelope in terms of new design and technology implementation,” says Ray Hoemsen, executive director of Research Partnerships & Innovation at RRC.

“This all gives way to ever greater research and testing needs. MotiveLab will be a unique Western Canadian facility that will help give Manitoba firms a competitive edge.”

Funding for the second phase of the MotiveLab project was made possible through a $3-million grant from the federal Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund, along with a $1.5 million investment by the province and $1.5 million from RRC. This is in addition to $4 million raised for the first phase of the project.

Manitoba Education Minister Ian Wishart and Winnipeg Centre MP Robert-Falcon Ouellette joined with representatives from research and industry today to announce the new grants. Construction of MotiveLab, which will be located at Notre Dame Campus inside the Heavy Equipment Transportation Centre, is expected to be completed in 2018.

Named the top research college in the prairies for 2016 (Research Infosource), Red River College is no stranger to providing advanced facilities and equipment – as well as highly skilled students – for use in projects that respond to newly emerging industry research, testing, and training needs.

Flagship projects include the all-electric transit bus, developed in conjunction with New Flyer, Manitoba Hydro, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (Japan), the province, and others; and Manitoba Hydro’s downtown headquarters, where RRC helped test and evaluate design and building products used to make the structure one of the most energy efficient in North America.

RRC also led the way with the establishment of the Electric Vehicle Technology and Education Centre, and the Centre for Applied Research in Sustainable Infrastructure – one of the first research labs of its kind at a Canadian college.

Shown above (from left): Ray Hoemsen, Executive Director, Research Partnerships & Innovation, RRC; Paul Vogt, President and CEO, RRC; Robert-Falcon Ouellette, MP, Winnipeg Centre; Ian Wishart, Minister of Education and Training, Province of Manitoba; Thomas Small, Director, New Product Development, New Flyer Industries; Dr. Mark Hoddenbagh, Vice-President, Strategic Development, RRC